Rwanda’s agricultural exports in second quarter register mixed bag of performance, overall declining by 5.5%

RWANDA – Rwanda earned US$419.1 million from agricultural exports in the 2019/20 fiscal year, 10% down from US$465.4 million recorded in 2018/19.

The decline, according to National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), is attributed to the reduction of cross border trade due to Covid-19 impact including the lockdown measures put in place.

Meanwhile, the country’s agriculture exports in the second quarter of 2020/21 ended December fetched US$113.9 million a 5.5% decline from US$120.6 million registered in the same period last year.

According to the data from NAEB, export revenues from traditional commodities (coffee, tea and pyrethrum) reduced by 1.2 per cent from US$47.3 million in the previous year to US$46.7 million.

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The report indicates that tea export volumes increased by 4.43% to 7,140 tonnes from 6,838 tonnes registered in the same quarter of 2019/2020.

However, revenues from tea sales reduced by 8%, from US$20.5 million of the prior corresponding period to US$18.8 million.

The decrease in earnings is a result of price fluctuation at the international market whereby the average price reduced from US$3.00 to US$2.64.

Coffee production on the other hand slightly rose by one per cent from 6,754 tonnes to 7,034 tonnes due to good agronomical practices applied in farms.

Rwanda’s export revenues from traditional commodities reduced by 1.2 per cent while non-traditional commodities reduced by 8.3%

However, export volumes went down by 14% from 7,865 tonnes to 6,763 tonnes mainly because of the reduced market as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, hence leading to large quantities of output that were not exported.

Thanks to the good price at the international market, revenues from Rwandan coffee exports increased by 3% to US$26.1 million up from US$25.3 million.

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Revenues from non-traditional commodities such as horticulture, cereals, flour, dairy and poultry products reduced by 8.3% from US$73.2 million to US$67.2 million in the period under review.

The same constraints brought by the pandemic were felt by horticulture businesses, especially in fruit and vegetable exports due to restrictions to the movements of passenger and cargo flights.

NAEB’s management said it is confident that efforts in place to mitigate challenges being faced by the sector will be fruitful.

“We will continue to enhance the quality of Rwandan agri-export commodities to meet standards being sought at the market. Regarding Covid-19 challenges, the Government has offset some costs through subsidies, mostly in transport,” said Claude Bizimana, the Chief Executive Officer of NAEB.

Nevertheless, NAEB expressed optimism that the existing strong partnership between the Government and all stakeholders is a signal that the agricultural export growth is achievable, an opportunity for new ventures.

For instance, Rwanda entered into a lucrative deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) based retail firm, MAF Carrefour to supply the large hypermarket with fresh produce including fruits and vegetables over the next one year.

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